This week we’re celebrating libraries far and wide, from small-town libraries like ours, to the largest academic libraries in the nation. It’s National Library Week 2023!
National Library Week began in 1958 with an objective to inspire people of all ages to read, as well as to support and show appreciation for local libraries. Now in its 65th year, this week-long celebration continues to encourage Americans to read as a primary pastime. The 2023 National Library Week theme is "There's More to the Story." Libraries contain a multitude of stories in a variety of formats from touch and feel board books to middle grade chapter book series, to VOX books and large print texts for the hearing or visually impaired, to audiobooks, ebooks, every imaginable genre, and more. And still, there’s so much more to the story. Libraries lend items such as Wi-Fi hotspots, puzzles, and book club kits. They host programming and events such as book clubs, crafting, story time, after school activities for tweens and teens, author visits, and so much more. The Friends of the Library give back to the community and donate valuable resources to local businesses and schools in need.
Our library’s infrastructure provides free internet and access to technology, workspaces, meeting rooms for community members to gather, hangout spaces for all ages, access to thousands of stories, and an unlimited wealth of information.
For me personally, as a stay-at-home mom of two children, one of the greatest gifts the library has given me is connection. Connection with other parents and caregivers, particularly the mothers I meet in the library on an almost-weekly basis. We chat as our children play, share parenting stories, commiserate over the far-too-frequent sleepless nights and the difficult moments we’ve recently experienced; we laugh and celebrate each other; we welcome each other’s newborns into the world. Even more than our mutual love of books, we come to the library to connect and visit with each other.
Since beginning as the library columnist in July of 2022, I’ve been blessed to connect with members of the Frankenmuth District Library Board, the Friends of the Library, and our incredible library staff. I’ve also enjoyed connecting with the regular members of Books for Lunch, who I look forward to seeing monthly.
Last week, at the book launch for the Frankenmuth Murder Mystery Series by local authors Roz Weedman and Susan Todd, who will be visiting Wickson Library on June 13 for a book discussion, I was delighted to meet a few new faces from the library community. These connections fill me with gratitude, and they continue outside of the library. I see library friends in the grocery store, at the playground, the post office, the hardware store, etc.
There’s so much more to the story. Yes, the library is a house of books and resources and programming, but it is so much more than that. The library, at its very best, is a place of community and connection.